Daily Reads


Tuscany - Pienza

Obligatory door pictures. I know it's cliche and I don't care - they were so pretty!

It's hard not to get bogged down in the pictures from Tuscany. I want to include them all! But I'm trying hard to choose the ones that show it best, and have the most meaning to us. Below are a few from Pienza. I loved this town. It was just beautiful and exactly what I hoped for, but I'm almost sad looking at the pictures because they don't do a good job of capturing the place. The cool, shady streets. The delicious smells drifting out of restaurants and shops. The lovely sound of Italian spoken all around, pigeons fluttering and cooing, church bells ringing...I tried and tried to put Pienza into pictures so we can keep it forever, but I suppose that's one of the reasons this part of the world is so enchanting. It can only be fully appreciated by being there and experiencing it with all the senses. 

The Cathedral and Piazza Pio II /  Porta al Ciglio
Our favorite little grocery store / proud Michael and the souvenir he earned
one of my favorite meals at one of our favorite places
the edge of town and the Val d'Orcia beyond
the south side of the Cathedral / a pretty little lane
yummy lunch at another of our favorite places
Yummy food everywhere / two little monkeys, happy to escape from a restaurant
running around the piazza / the Cathedral and piazza from another view
Tuscan kitty, living the good life / Sammy, trying his best to run in the piazza

There's still more to share from Tuscany, and then the final leg of our trip - Switzerland!



view of the Val d'Orcia from Pienza

On our fourth day in Rome, we rented a car and headed north into Tuscany for a week in the Val d'Orcia in a little town called Pienza. I wasn't prepared for the beauty of Tuscany! Everything I'd heard was true - it was an absolute treat for the senses. But it was also frustrating to try and capture all of that beauty in photos. As I look over them now, none of these photos do the place justice! 
After a whirlwind few days in Rome, I was really looking forward to this part of the trip. We were meeting good friends in Pienza, and we didn't have much planned for the week except eating, visiting, hanging out in town, and letting the kids play. That's exactly what we did and it was glorious! In the photo above, we had just arrived at our rental and Michael was so excited about playing in the huge, rolling hills of dirt (the fields had just been harvested and plowed - a little kid's paradise of plants and insects and dirt clumps!)
We stayed in an old farmhouse, about half a mile from town, and it was a pretty perfect situation for us. We could walk to town, and we went to town every day for one reason or another, but we spent most of the time hanging around the house. From the yard we had a clear view of the fields so we could let the kids run and play while we relaxed and visited. They caught stink bugs and grasshoppers, stalked the kitty that lived in the barn, picked flowers, took turns wearing Michael's gladiator gear from Rome, and played in the fields of dirt clumps. Always the dirt clumps. The pace was very slow - some days it seemed impossible to get to town before noon - but that was exactly what we wanted! It was such a joy to open the shutters in the morning to let in the sunshine and the fresh air. We'd linger over breakfast and coffee, Sam would nap and we would get ready for the day, and we'd usually eat lunch in town and have gelato in the piazza or the park. In the afternoon while the kids napped we would read or sit in the sun or nap. It was such a wonderful, peaceful, inspiring time! 
me and Jill cooking up some dinner / cena al fresco
a walk to town / little friends
the aforementioned fields of dirt and happy kiddos
More photos of beautiful Tuscany to come....


Rome from my phone

Here's a little bit more of Rome, from my phone.
Zipping around Borghese Gardens. I love how happy everybody looks! (That's Sam's happy-concentrating face.)
Piazza del Popolo / Borghese Gardens
Borghese Gardens / Prati
Selfie with Sam / Cab ride to the Colosseum
Colosseum / Forum
Snack / Afternoon nap
Michael at his favorite fountain / Sam and his Dada
The Tiber at sunset / Chasing pigeons in Piazza Navona